“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into 50 pounds of flour until it spread through all of it.” Matthew 13:33
In the midst of all the other parables of Matthew 13, here’s a small, yet powerful one.
Remember, a parable is parable is a “story about ordinary people doing seemingly ordinary things, but with a message that has eternal significance”. Jesus often taught in parables.
In this one, Jesus uses a word picture containing flour and yeast. Yeast is a fermenting agent used to make bread rise. It can also be used to make beer. Chemically, as the yeast that’s mixed with flour or barely is moisened, the fermentaion process begins and the agent with which it is mix begins to expand. Its the same fermentaion process that happens as grapes are turned into wine-as the achohol content grows, the beverage expands- that’s why the Bible says in yet another parable of Jesus that says you can’t put new wine in old wineskins (Matt 9:14-17). Upon expansion, the old, hardened skins will break as the new wine ferments.
Another example of this process is that of sour dough bread. The baker will use just a small portion of sour (from fermentaion) dough, mixed with fresh flour, to bake bread. Before, however, baking the bread, she will pinch off a small portion of dough, place it in some milk, saving it to continue fermenting for the next batch of bread. None-the-less, yeast is still used to make raised breads to this day.
One more note: the Bible OFTEN compares yeast or leven to sin (the whole “Feast of Unleavened Bread” within the “Passover” holiday, still celebrated by Hebrews, is based on this concept).
THE POINT TO ALL OF THIS IS THAT A LITTLE LEAVEN GOES A LONG WAY!
Notice the amount of flour the women mixes it with: 50lbs! That’s a lot of flour! In terms of making bread, A LITTLE leaven goes a LONG way! Why? Because mixed, its fermenting agent is impossible to stop once its moistened and the rising agent is set into motion! When the bread rises to the appropriate size, you simply bake it!
So what’s Jesus saying to you and I? “There are no insignificants in the Kingdom of Heaven.” When the Bible teaches about the New Testament Church, the writers ALWAYS use word pictures of a human body (I Cor. 12, Rom 12, Eph.4 & 5). A human body us only about 30% visible to the eye. Only about 10% is a head and face with recognizable features that distiuish us from each other. What if the parts you couldn’t see suddenly died? The whole body would die, right? Some of the most important parts, in fact, ALL of the vital organs, aside from skin itself, is hidden from sight, but without them, say the heart for example, WE WOULD SURELY DIE! ALL of the parts are important just like ALL of the members of God’s Kingdom are important! While you might not function in full veiw for the world to readily see or hear, YOU’RE PART IS ESSENTIAL to the success of the Body!
That being said, just a little leaven-just a little Christian influence in society GOES A LONG WAY!
Sometimes we grow alarmed because we’re living in a “Post-Christian society, but guess what? JESUS LIVED IN A NON-CHRISTIAN society and managed with the help of a dozen rough, everyday guys to change the world!
Who is the Leavening Agent? Holy Spirit! It was Him Who had filled those rough, timid disciples- the same guys who had hidden while Jesus was being crucified, stating that they didn’t even know Him-it was Holy Spirit in those guys Who preached to the same crowd who chanted “crucify” at Jesus’ execution on the Day of Penticost (70 days after Jesus’ crucifiction) and 3,000 people became Christ followers! By the end of 2 weeks, over 20,000 Jerusalem residents had been saved (Acts 1-5 do the math)! In a few short months, the g
Gospel had spread into and North Africa and Euro-Asia (Acts)!
A LITTLE Leaven goes a LONG way! A little Holy Spirit in us does too!
Think about it!